Addressing Health Disparities through Access to COVID-19 Testing
June 16, 2020
COVID-19 and police brutality are not separate public health issues; they are deeply connected crises that have exposed ongoing, structural racism. Studies link the trauma from violence and racism to higher rates of chronic diseases; and these are the very health issues that are causing Black individuals to die of COVID-19 at higher rates than their white counterparts. It is the mission of Via Care and other FQHCs to provide quality preventative healthcare to low-income communities of color, therefore addressing the stark health disparities that people of color face.
In February, 2020 when it became clear that COVID-19 was a real threat to public health and safety, many Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) like Via Care heeded CDC guidelines to curtail non-essential primary care visits to mitigate the spread of the virus. Via Care maintained in-person newborn, 0-2 year-old vaccines, OB, critical chronic care, and emergency dental visits. The rest—routine chronic disease monitoring, acute/urgent care, mental health, and even routine dental—went virtual or had to wait. As we enter into our fourth month of this radically pared-down model of primary care, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), and the CDC have cautiously advised that we may slowly and carefully re-open.
Among Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), telehealth has traditionally been considered “a rural thing”, with no real use to urban clinics like Via Care Community Health Center (Via Care), located in the heart of bustling East Los Angeles. When the Governor and CDC asked clinics in early March to curtail non-essential primary care visits to keep clinic staff and patients safe from coronavirus, suddenly telehealth became relevant. It was critical for the safety of our staff, patients, and the financial stability of the organization, that we move to virtual visits, and quickly!
Addressing Social Determinants of Health During COVID-19
May 12, 2020
As a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), Via Care Community Health Center’s primary responsibility is to provide free and low-cost comprehensive primary medical, dental and behavioral health care for culturally, economically and socially marginalized community members. While we have always seen the impacts of poverty, food insecurity, lack of housing, employment and education on the health of our patients, never has it been so stark as during COVID-19. Staff report a significant uptick in requests for food, housing and employment. Particularly at risk are our 2,400 undocumented patients, 30% of our patient population, who have been entirely left out of all public economic relief initiatives. As a vital resource and medical home for our community, Via Care has stepped up our response to worsening economic and social conditions in the following ways:
As the CEO of Via Care Community Health Center, I am responsible for the safety, workplace well-being, and protection of my staff. With many years together and shared experiences, especially the intensity of being on the frontlines of a pandemic, we often feel more like family than co-workers. Since day one of this pandemic, the Via Care staff has been my top priority. Staff members are the heart and soul of our community and their well-being is critical. I am proud to report that as of the writing of this update, we have not laid off any staff.
As soon as the pandemic hit, staff was first and foremost the priority of the drastic changes in our daily workflow in our ten clinics. Keeping them and their own families safe and healthy, and employed and busy, was the priority.
Before other health centers, and unlike some entirely, Via Care immediately eliminated non-essential patient visits. This was a difficult financial decision, as fee-for-service Medi-Cal is our financial bread and butter. We decided to risk the financial hit for the safety and well-being of our staff and their families.
Federally Qualified Health Centers have a unique role in this pandemic. As medical homes for low-income community members, our waiting areas are normally full of patients presenting with everything from chronic disease monitoring to routine physicals to dental fillings. Prevention is always paramount. Now, we must work even harder to prevent individuals from occupying emergency rooms. And perhaps more challenging, we must find ways to continue to provide life-saving preventative care, while at the same time prevent the spread of the virus by encouraging patients to stay at home and use telehealth for non-emergency health concerns.
This challenge has had many consequences: a nearly complete overhaul of operations; a re-thinking of our finances; re-imagined community and patient engagement and messaging; new safety standards for our staff; creative means to keep clinics open and staff employed; and a new model of serving our patients.
MOBILE FOOD PANTRY at Via Care! Lunes 13 de Abril de 1pm - 3pm.
Mercado de agricultores sobre ruedas.
**Este evento es para personas de bajos ingresos y familias que experimentan dificultades durante la crisis del coronavirus, o COVID-19.
Clínica Comunitaria Via Care, en colaboración con Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, les invita a su familia a nuestra distribución para que reciban alimentos saludables y GRATIS!
Alimentos distribuidos pueden incluir: Frutas y verduras frescas, carnes enlatadas, frijoles, sopas, arroz, pastas, salsas, granos, y otros artículos perecederos.
Puede recibir aproximadamente 25-40 libras de comida. Para su comodidad, favor de traer un carrito o bolsa reusable.
Todo nuestro personal y voluntarios usarán guantes y practicarán un distanciamiento social seguro para mantener a todos saludables durante las recogidas.
Via Care Community Health Center
507 S. Atlantic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90022
PARA OBTENER MAS INFORMACIÓN POR FAVOR LLAME A: (323) 268-9191
Mobile Food Pantry - A Farmer’s Market on Wheels
Monday, April 13 from 1- 3 pm
**This event is for low-income individuals and families experiencing hardships during the COVID-19 crisis.
Via Care Community Health Center, in collaboration with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, is inviting all families to our facility to receive FREE healthy foods! Food distributed may include: Fresh fruits and vegetables, canned meats, beans, soups, rice, pasta, sauces, grains, and other perishable items. You can expect to receive approximately 25-40 lbs of food.
All of our staff and volunteers will be wearing gloves and practicing safe social distancing to keep everyone healthy during pickups.
Via Care Community Health Center
507 S. Atlantic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90022
For your convenience, please bring your cart or reusable bags
FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CALL: (323) 268-9191
Via Care Awarded Prestigious HRSA National Quality Leader Seal!
March 05, 2018
April 9th, 2018
East Los Angeles, CA –Via Care Community Health Center was recently awarded the HRSA National Quality Leader Seal. National Quality Leaders exceeded national clinical quality benchmarks, Healthy People 2020 goals, or other critical thresholds above the national health center averages in chronic disease management, preventive care, and/or perinatal/prenatal care in 2017. Only the top 14% of federally qualified health centers in the nation receive this honor. Via Care Community Health Center is proud to display the seal that exhibits the contribution of their work toward meeting the national HRSA goal to improve access to quality health care and services.
Via Care Community Health Center’s mission is to support and uphold our community’s right to health by providing quality, equitable, and comprehensive care. We envision a world where healthcare is a basic human right, and work hard to take care of our community members by offering medical, dental, and behavioral health and supportive services, regardless of income or immigration status. As Via Care Community Health Center increases access to care for our low-income community, we wear this seal of recognition with honor, and promise to continue to make strides to improve the health status of our patients.
NEW! Via Care Women's Health Center
March 05, 2018
Via Care Women's Health Center is located at 615 S. Atlantic Blvd. in East Los Angeles. We provide all patients with compassionate, quality & affordable health care. Our Women's Health Center provides primary care for women including: annual exams, prenatal & postpartum care, behavioral health services, breast & cervical cancer screening, pregnancy testing, family planning, baby's check-up, transportation & more! For every stage of your life, we'll be there every step of the way. Via Care... Your Health, Your Way.
Dr. Agustin Lara Joins Via Care as New Chief Medical Officer
October 17, 2016
Via Care is excited to introduce our new Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Agustin Lara. Dr. Lara comes to us from a distinguished eight-year career in community medicine with board certification in Family Practice and a commitment to quality health care for all. He completed his residency right here in East Los Angeles at White Memorial Hospital, and is fluent in Spanish, the language most of our patients speak at home. Dr. Lara is looking forward to advancing Via Care as a first-choice provider of primary care, dental, and behavioral health services to the community, in East Los Angeles and beyond.
While we are sad to say goodbye to Dr. Josephine Devaraj, who is exiting the CMO position, we wish her great success and well-being as she joins Kaiser Permanente’s provider team. She leaves knowing that her patients and her providers are in good hands with Dr. Lara.
New Access Point Awarded
August 12, 2015
During the midst of National Health Center week, the US Department of Health and Human Services announced an additional round of funding, approximately $169 million to fund 266 community health centers. Bienvenidos Community Health Center is happy to announce that we were a proud recipient of a New Access Point.
May 29, 2015
On April 5, 2015, the Garfield High School Student Advisory Board traveled to the Y2Y Conference hosted by the California School Based Health Alliance. This post was written by Garfield High School Student Advisory Board Member, Kimberly Aguayo.
Health Coverage and Taxes
March 18, 2015
Wondering how your new health insurance will affect your 2014 tax filing? Have questions about the special enrollment period to avoid fees?Healthcare.gov lays it out simply. If you received insurance through the Health Insurance marketplace, you’ll receive a new Form 1095-A to use when filing. If you had healthcare from any other source, you’ll check that box on your federal income tax return.
Garfield March Newsletter
May 18, 2015
On May 17th community members joined volunteers from Bienvenidos, the Princeton Club of Southern California, Stanford Alumni Association, and the Yale Club of Los Angeles at Garfield High School for a health fair. The Bienvenidos Mobile Health Unit was present, providing a variety of health services.
Clinic Gets a Makeover
February 18, 2014
You may have been driving down Atlantic Blvd. in East Los Angeles and noticed a small change to the exterior of the Bienvenidos Community Health Center. The exterior of the clinic recently received a makeover in the form of a seventy-two foot banner across its facade.
BCHC Designated as a New Access Point
February 18, 2014
We have exciting news to share with you—Thursday morning we received notice that the Bienvenidos Community Health Center been designated a New Access Point! This means that we are now going to be a full-blown Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC).